Restaurant Review: O Lar Goa Is Dedicated To Simplicity & Taste, Minus The Drama

The newly-opened O Lar in Vagator, Goa makes sure your taste buds are well taken care of when it comes to simple and comfort European and middle-eastern food.

Published On Dec 29, 2023 | Updated On Jul 10, 2024


Often touted as the culinary capital of India, Goa is where epicureans would usually go to devour the best local seafood. How times have changed. Goa now also boasts some of the best French, Greek, Mediterranean, and Asian food. That doesn’t mean it has lost out on its repeat patrons for local cuisine, but if your palate craves a change and desires a departure from the usual, it will be well taken care of.

Amid the bulge of new restaurants in Goa, O Lar in Vagator doesn’t make exaggerated promises or commitments. The focus is on the taste pretty much. From earthy salads to Middle Eastern grills, wood pellet smoker delights to Italian classics, and cocktails inspired from the streets of Europe and Middle East and some classics, the menu ensures there's a perfect match for everyone.


To start with, the cocktail menu has an array of drinks named after some of the major cities across the world - Brussels, Athens, Lisbon, Amalfi, Istanbul, Paris and Goa. Not that, sipping on these cocktails will transport you there. But… but.. but… they get the classics right! I tried their Espresso Martini made of miso caramel sauce, freshly-brewed espresso, coffee liqueur and vodka - it was a liquid high-five to my senses. Packed with deliciousness in every sip, the flavours are harmoniously blended and on point. The Picante, another classic on the menu - a sublime blend of tequila gold, agave, jalapeno and fresh coriander, perfect for those who are a fan of bold flavours with a hint of heat. Next up was Lisbon, a delightful blend of bourbon, Drambuie, salted honey, clarified lime and port wine is what a good time in a glass is. It ensures to rescue your taste buds from the mundane with each sip.

Lamb Adana

O Lar, translates to ‘the home’ in Portuguese, and that’s exactly what it exudes. It makes patrons feel right at home and doesn’t try to impress you with an uncomplicated presentation of the dishes, but with the taste. I started with Lamb Adana - grilled hand-ground lamb seamlessly seasoned with mint, coriander, onions, green chilli and cumin served with charred peppers, tomatoes, an onion-sumac-parsley salad, and lavash; that encapsulates the essence of authentic Adana cuisine. 

Till my first bite, I was sceptical thinking if Goa can really excite me with kebabs. It was nothing short of a revelation that left my taste buds doing the tango. If you have a low tolerance for spice, go easy with the charred pepper served as accompaniments, which otherwise is a perfect foil to the robustness of the lamb, creating a duet that resonates with every bite. Interestingly, during his stay in Kuwait, chef Raminder Bakshi had the privilege of learning the art of Lamb Adana from a local family, which is instrumental in doing justice to the authenticity of the dish. He intended to bring the flavours of Middle Eastern cuisine to Goa, and I am glad he did. He shares, “Originating in its hometown, this kebab is a blend of exclusively male lamb meat, red bell peppers, and tail fat, all meticulously hand-minced.”

Bacon Wrapped Prawns

Next up was Bacon Wrapped Prawns! The prawns, snugly embraced by applewood smoked bacon on skewers, swathed in Guinness BBQ sauce was pure bliss. It tasted so good that even the veggies served as accompaniment do a little happy dance on your plate!

Spaghetti Carbonara

Then, I centre myself for the next dish - Spaghetti Carbonara which has applewood-smoked bacon, free range egg yolk and cheese emulsion. The marriage of perfectly cooked spaghetti with the luscious egg and cheese amalgamation was a dance of textures that left me in awe. The most recent Carbonara that truly delighted my taste buds was savoured in Rome, and now, O Lar has managed to convince me to admit - “This is as good as the one I gobbled up in Rome!” I will leave it at that.


For dessert, the chef insisted I try the kunafa. And I am glad I did, because denying one of the better tasting kunafas I have ever had, would have been a grave mistake. The impeccable balance of flavours won me over. The sweetness was not overpowering; instead, it unfolded gradually, revealing layers of honeyed perfection that lingered on the palate. I hope they change absolutely nothing about the kunafa and it always stays on their menu.

Address: 186/1, Mapusa - Anjuna - Chapora Rd, Vagator, Goa
Meal for two: Rs 4,000

Photo: O Lar